See the Stars

nytimes starsThe NYT headlines that five planets will be “aligned” for the next month in our pre-dawn sky.  It is more accurate to say that the five will be in a visible spread for a month — and they can be very instructional in this spread.

In the featured image above I marked their constellation signs:  from Mercury in early Capricorn to Venus in later Capricorn to Saturn in Sagg to Mars in Scorpio and then, skipping Libra, to Jupiter in Virgo.  (Hi, Jupiter.  That’s where you were when I was born.)  Hence, your eye and brain can visualize the Zodiacal belt right across the horizon, looking South.  Note that we see that we see 5 of the 12 constellations while gazing South, from East to West.  This allows us to realize and mentally feel the other 7 of the belt of 12 constellations underfoot and behind our backs.

This display above is not a conjunction:  a conjunction would be if the planets were all gathered up on top of each other, in the same constellation. This is a splay across 5 signs, with two squares:  so anticipate your mind (Mercury) to fight with your passion (Mars) and your wisdom (Jupiter) to be in contradistinction to your boundaries (Saturn).  That’s ok:  Deal with it.

Another matter to note in this image is that it allows you to situate yourself in the sextant that is the heavens.  Namely, the topmost of these planets (Mars) is approximately 30° above the landline.  30° is the amount the earth sways or “tilts” around the equator each solstice.  This line-up allows us to SEE and hence FEEL that.   This is exciting, so get up early some morning and go see it.  These are the “fab five” – no one is missing:  Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn ⇐ that is the list in terms of their distance from the sun.  Notice that is not their order currently in the the sky:  Saturn is beating out Mars and Jupiter in this particular sky–but that’s a different matter.  Also to note is that these are the 5 visible to the naked eye.  The next three planets (Uranus, Neptune, and little Pluto) require a telescope:  they are said to be the ones that rule our unconscious.

The NYT does not give you half as much astro-education – but at least they reported it.  Click on the link to see how they put it.

It is much fun to see the earth in its heavenly sextant in play.  It has not been seen this way for over 10 years.  Enjoy!

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